In the Crimean region you will find many objects that were constructed for the Soviet Space program. We discuss some of them below.
Antennas for the first object of this arsenal are noticeable from afar. These are gigantic radiolocators in an area known as Zaozernoye, not far from Evpatoria. They are collectively known as the “Deep Space Communication Center.”
Just as in the Soviet times, the existence of these objects are not secret to date. But the history of its creation, equipments and its tasks were for obvious reasons not written by the press.
In the mid 1950’s the Soviet Union was preparing for space exploration. All over the country ground monitoring centers and communication facilities were created. And due to its geographical location the Crimea was a convenient site for the creation of these facilities. On the western peninsula are clear, free from relief protrusions at the horizon, a greater number of sunny days in the year, rare severe changes in temperature are some of the factors that influenced the choice of this area.
The first object to be created was the “M-V center” whose construction began in March 1960. Then Evpratoria became the first transmission and recieving center – near the villages of Vitino and Zaozernoye. Its basis was a radiotechnical super-range radio the ADU-1000 “Pluto”. It consisted of three high power antenna systems- one transmitter and two receivers. Each of them had 8 parabolic mirrors with a diameter of 16meters. All of the rotating parts of the antenna weigh about 1.5 tons.
Signals from the antennas were summed up to provide a chart of their focus and their high effectivity area of reception which is about 800 sq. ft. for each antenna. To transmit signals to a spacecraft the relay system was used. The relay system operated in the range of 39cm with a mazimum capacity of 80 kilowatts, which made it possible to enable radio communication to a range of up to 300 million kilometers. Such was non-existent in any other part of the world.
In 1978 a third site was added to Molochniy. Here, have one of the largest antennas in the world – the PT-70.The height of the Radio Astronomy Telescope is 86.36 meters, and the diameter of the mirror antennas is 70 meters – almost the size of a football field! This antenna is steerable, and the weight of its moving parts far more than five thousand tons. Pointing accuracy of the swinger is 10 arc seconds, or less than a millimeter. The transmitter power is up to 200 kilowatts.
In 1996, on the decree of the President of Ukraine at the Centre for Deep Space Communication Center, a National Office and the Testing of Space Vehicles (NCSVCT) was designed to control spacecraft in the national and international space programs. In July of 1999 and 2003 using the RT-70 sent letters to extraterrestrial civilizations (“Cosmic call”).
The legacy of the Soviet Ukraine has got a number of unique military facilities, which are the Russian armed forces simply did not need.One of the most interesting “artifacts” of the Soviet military-industrial complex, no doubt, is the Polygon NITKA, located on the airfield Novofedorovka, near the town of Saki in the Crimea. Abbreviation NITKA stands for “Simulator for Research and testing of naval aircraft .”
Often this polygon is reffered to as an underground aircraft carrier. Ukraine, not having their own aircraft carriers, annually rents it to Russian pilots of carrier-based aircraft to practice takeoffs and landings.
The complex was built in the early 80s for practicing and improving technological solutions, which were laid in the construction of aircraft carriers and naval aircraft which was a new idea at the time. And of course, to teach pilots take off and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier. The first takeoff of the Su-27 from the ramp was held in August 1982.
According to the algorithm of pilot training carrier-based aircraft,land the plane before on deck of the ship, the pilots need to work out the landing on the ground simulator. Russia’s only aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is based in Severomorsk Murmansk region,from there the pilots fly to train at the NITKA. This usually occurs in late summer.
The NITKA complex simulates the deck of a cruiser-carrier.The basic equipment of the simulator is underground. It is a Ground three-deck ‘ship’, equipped with powerful steam power and electrohydraulic devices, including a landing deck, throwing device (similar to a catapult), steam power plants, arrester system (which is used to brake the aircraft during its landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier), trampoline, delaying device and a warning network.
Takeoff and landing unit of the complex can sway, simulating the movement of the sea like on a real aircraft carrier. The length of the runway is 290 m. All the hardware, including ramps, weigh 12 000 tonnes. In order for the catapult (which consists of two cylinders, with an inner diameter of 500 mm and a length of about 90 meters) to be able to disperse within a few seconds before the aircraft takes-off at a speed of 250-280km / h, it was required to accumulate a lot of steam, and then instantly send it through pipelines using a particular law of “increase” under the pistons of the catapult. In those years, this had never been done. To address this and other similar design tasks many innovative and unique ideas and inventions have been used .
The uniquenessof NITKA is in the fact that the landfill was built taking into account the various prospective projects of the Soviet aircraft carrier. On some, aircraft had to shoot into the sky, like a slingshot, or using catapult steam. On the other hand, they soared into the air with a springboard .Such complexes are in the United States and Spain. But NITKA is considered to be the biggest in the world. Maintenance of the complex needs about 100 military specialists and it is still in working condition.
Over 40 years ago in the Soviet Union had signed a program of the development of the Moon. One of its tasks was to submit to the surface of the moon a UAV, called “moonwalker”. Management was expected to train a special crew for this task on earth. For this purpose it was necessary to carry out ground testing of the apparatus, in which the pilots of the “Lunokhod” would be able to gain practical skills in the management of this unusual vehicle. Testing ground for “Lunokhod” was selected in the territory V/H 14 109, located in a village known as Shkolnoye near Simferopol.Several years ago, Shkolnoye was a top-secret object with the mailing address Simferopol-28. Hence, it has controlled the first artificial satellites and other automatic stations that are on their way to Mars, Venus, and the Moon.Shkolnoye in Soviet times, did not officially exist. In the narrow circles of the military “space forces”, it was known as the Single Point Measurement Science number 10.
On November 17, 1970 “Lunokhod-1” was sent to the moon well over 400 000 km. Management of the device was done from Shkolnoe with a huge antenna,or “dish”. All work on the management of the Lunokhod ledcrew, which included the commander, driver, navigator, flight engineer, the operator of the pencil beam antenna. The commander took over the general management of the work. Rover driver was responsible for issuing commands to the motion, carried out with remote control, which had levers. He was the navigator. He was responsible for planning the course of his pad.
The car performed well according to the team, but all changes in the motion of the device on the moon took place with the amendment to the delay required for the signal to the moon and back, which ranged from 10 to 24 seconds. Therefore, the lunar driver had to anticipate emergency situations, to predict and assess the situation for 10 – 12 meters away to compute the size of a lunar obstacle. Any wrong considerations could have ruined the expensive unique apparatus. Extensive practical experience of land-based training with an experimental model”Lunokhod” allowed the crew to cope with all the difficulties of moving vehicle on the lunar surface.
Space scientists properly executed research program on the moon for almost 11 months. In total, “Lunokhod-1” covered the distance of 10 540 meters and gave the earth more than 25 thousand photographs and over 200 panoramas of the lunar surface.On January 16, 1973 Lunokhod -2 was sent to the moon. Again, its management was carried out from Shkolnoye.
At the checkpoint. Today, the once most powerful set of space-based communication remains only a huge dish antenna. All other buildings and structures were destroyed and actively dealt with by organized groups of “hunters of metal”.
Location: the Crimea